Friday, January 31, 2014

Mr. Lincoln develops a test plan to help restart the southern economy

In an interesting move this week, Mr. Lincoln sent Alpheus Lewis into the south to meet with plantation owners in Mississippi and Arkansas with a revolutionary test plan in hand. The president's plan was to allow plantation owners to re-hire newly freed slaves on their plantation to keep the southern plantations in business and stave off a complete collapse of their economy, bringing starvation to both the former slaves and the whites on the plantation.

It was no surprise that the radical Republicans vehemently opposed the idea and instead wanted the southern economy to undergo change from agriculture to industrial at the end of the war.

Mr. Lincoln also added Union General Daniel Sickles to his list of emissaries with assignments in the south. Sickle has his leg amputated following the battle at Gettysburg and had requested the president give him an assignment to help aid the Union. Mr. Lincoln asked Sickles to look into preparations for the new government of Arkansas.

The president's social calendar for the week included a public reception at the White House attended by long lines and probably eight thousand persons and a visit to Grover's Theater with Senator Chales Sumner of Massachusetts to attend the play "Gamea".

Friday, January 24, 2014

The president orders officials in Arkansas to set elections for their state to return to the Union

This week, President Lincoln worked with officials in Arkansas to set up an election to become the first state to return to the Union. Both Louisianan and Arkansas had been mostly under Union jurisdiction. Mr. Lincoln thought that being able to pull states back into the Union under his recent Amnesty plan would greatly undermine the Confederacy.

The Lincolns also hosted a dinner for Cabinet members, members of the Supreme Court and others and their wives at the White House. He always like my presence at these type of events as his official greeter. And I always enjoyed being there.

What I wasn't enjoying recently was testimony made before Congress by recently deposed Jailer Benedict Milburn who erroneously told those troublesome radical Republicans that I made $30,000 from my position as U.S. Federal Marshal and another $18,000 from feeding the prisoners.  While this was certainly an "unmitigated falsehood", I suggested that I would be happy if my remuneration by even 1/6th of that.    

Friday, January 17, 2014

President Lincoln meets with one of his critics

This week the president met with Anna Dickinson and then attended her presentation in from of the House of Representatives. The lady was an abolitionist and women's rights activist who had been critical of Mr. Lincoln. She in fact had called him a "scoundrel" on numerous occasions. Dickinson was the first woman to ever address the Congressmen.

In her address, she took issue sternly of the president's proposal for reconstruction and his apparent generosity to the rebels. She also advocated strongly for suffrage for women.

Around this time radical Republicans in Congress were also considering naming a warden for the jails of the District of Columbia in an attempt to undermine some of my authority as U.S. Federal Marshal. When I complained to Mr. Lincoln about the Congressional attempts, Mr. Lincoln assured me that he still had my full support. He said that their way of getting at him was through me, and that was just part of the way things were done in Washington. He told me not to worry.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The president declines getting into the butchering business

President Lincoln hated blood because it reminded him of the long on-going war. During this recent week, with his commuting of the death sentence of an Ohio soldiers for deserting, the president wrote "I did this, not on any merit in the case, but because I am trying to evade the butchering business lately."

In that same nature of the president, he recently gave the father of a Union soldier condemned to death a note saying his son was "not to be shot until further orders from me." The father argued that he was asking for a commutation and that the president could surely change his mind and have his son shot the next week. Mr. Lincoln replied "well, my old friend, I see you are not very well acquainted with me. If your son never looks on death till further orders come from me to shoot him, he will live to be a great deal older than Methuselah."

He also asked Naval Admiral John Dahlgren to meet with Captain Lavender of New York in reference to an idea Lavender had which would aid Union ships by removing under water obstructions from the paths of Naval vessels.

Two treaties with Indian tribes, the Shoshonee Nation of Indians and the Chippewa tribe, were delivered to Congress this week.

Mr. Lincoln also suggested that the nation mourn the recent death of his former Secretary of the Interior, Caleb Smith by draping the executive buildings in Washington in black bunting for fourteen days.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The President and Mrs. Lincoln host their annual New Years Day reception

The annual New Year's Day reception was something I always enjoyed. It was the absolute best way to kick off the new year, with a reception at the White House. This year the first family hosted Union army and navy officers at 11:30 and then opened the White House to the public.  As usual, large lines had formed early in the morning to attend this festive event. Included in this year's reception visitors were four Negroes who were graciously greeted by the President and Mrs. Lincoln.

The Lincoln's again attended Ford's Theater on January 2. This time they were using the box offered by Colonel James D. Greene.

Mr. Lincoln met with and made arrangements this week for artist Francis Carpenter to begin sittings for a painting he had proposed to show President Lincoln's first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to members of his Cabinet. That event had occurred on July 22, 1862 and had surprised its members. Mr. Carpenter was to maintain a studio in the White House for several months in order to complete the painting.